‘You don’t have to be wealthy to make it in eventing’: Oliver Townend’s message as he finishes second at new five-star

  • Oliver Townend spoke of his respect for Maryland 5 Star winner Boyd Martin and sent out a message to ambitious youngsters after finishing second in the inaugural US autumn five-star yesterday (Sunday, 17 October).

    “I have so much respect for Boyd,” he said, referring to a conversation he had with his friend Karyn Shuter, who is a huge part of managing his operation, after he dropped from first to the runner-up spot with four faults in the showjumping.

    “I said we’re very happy with the way our horse went and very happy for Boyd as well. Some days are meant to be your days, some days aren’t meant to be your days. Today was Boyd’s day.

    “Karyn said she’s seen him scrape himself up off floor so many times – we’ve all scraped ourselves off floor. He’s taken some knocks, the sport’s tough and to be sat with Boyd and Tim [Price, third] is a privilege. They are riders I have a huge amount of respect for, both are very normal lads and for all three of us to be in this position is a huge privilege.

    “It shows normal people – we’re all definitely normal people – can make it to pinnacle of this sport and that’s a message I want to get out to any kid thinking they can’t do it because they’re not from a wealthy background. I’m very proud of Boyd, Tim, and myself to have worked hard and thankfully be once again sat [on top].”

    Boyd referred to the fact that he knew Tim when they were both competing in the Southern Hemisphere 15 or 20 years ago.

    “I was competing against him when he was sleeping on a mattress in the back of his trailer at shows and it’s wonderful to see you that if you work hard and dig deep, you can make something of your life,” said Boyd, who moved to the US from Australia in 2006 and changed nationality in 2008.

    “I still think of myself as an Australian – it’s a wonderful country to get started in and gave me my work ethic and horsemanship. Then I fell in love with America, which has great people, great culture, great events.”

    Boyd jumped clear to move up from third to the top spot and said: “On Cue really gutsed it out today – I think Lady Luck was on our side as we bumped a few poles. I couldn’t believe it when I got a clear round. I would have been happy with third or second, to win is a great honour and a great privilege.

    “These fellas [Oliver and Tim] are two riders I’ve idolised and looked up to and learnt a bit from their mentality and championship ideology. Today was On Cue’s day.”

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